Planning and Zoning Commission


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Meeting Date: 01/10/2022  
Prepared By: John Wesley, Development Services Director

Staff Summary (Background)
At the January 10, 2022, Planning and Zoning Commission meeting the public will be given the opportunity to provide the Commission and staff with their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding potential amendment(s) to the Town's zoning ordinance as it pertains to detoxification uses and sober living homes.  There have been a number of discussions regarding these topics over the last year.  In many cases the comments and ideas expressed have blended some of these uses and activities.

In order to help everyone speak clearly and understand the topics, staff is providing the following definitions.  Some of these are from our zoning ordinance, others are as the term is commonly used in land use documents or other professional material.  The sole purpose of these definitions is to help facilitate clear and accurate discussion on at the January 10th Commission meeting.  While it may be necessary at some point in the adoption of new regulations to amend existing definitions in the ordinance, or add new definitions to help address the topics, it is not the intent of the definitions provided here at this time.

Definitions in standard font are current definitions in our zoning ordinance.  Definitions in Italics are ones that have been added for use at this meeting.  Any commentary or discussion about a definition is provided in (brackets) following the definition.

Assisted Living: A residential living environment for seniors or people with disabilities who require help with some of the routines of daily living as well as access to medical care when needed. (Assisted living can take place in a group home environment for places with 10 or fewer residents or in facilities for places with 11 or more residents.)

Clinic: A place for the provision of group medical services, not involving overnight housing of patients. (While the land uses listed in Chapter 12 never specifically list "clinics", medical services and uses are allowed in all commercial zoning districts, C-O to C-3.)

Detoxification: The process of clearing the body of drugs or alcohol.

Drug and Alcohol Detoxification Facilities:  Facilities engaged in either inpatient or outpatient treatment and care of individuals going through withdrawal and detoxification from drugs or alcohol.  The facilities can provide either, or both, acute, inpatient services, or sub-acute, outpatient services.

Dwelling, Single-Family:  A detached building...designed exclusively for occupancy by or occupied by one (1) family for residential purposes.

Group Home for the Handicapped and Adult Care: A dwelling shared by handicapped and/or elderly people as their primary residence and their resident staff, who live together as a single housekeeping unit, sharing responsibilities, meals, and recreation. The staff provides care for the residents. A Group Home for the Handicapped and Adult Care does not include nursing homes, alcohol or other drug treatment centers, community correction facilities, shelter care facilities, or homes for the developmentally disabled as regulated by the Arizona Revised Statutes Section 36-582.  (Includes a wide variety of types of homes but the most common type is elderly assisted living homes; also covers sober living homes.  Based on a recent review of approved group homes and business licenses, there are nine assisted living group homes and four sober living group homes in Fountain Hills.  These homes have between 5 and 10 residents.)

Home Occupation:  Any occupation or profession which is incidental and subordinate to the use of the dwelling unit for dwelling purposes and which does not change the character thereof, and in connection with which there are no employees other than members of the immediate family residing in the dwelling. A home occupation may not generate traffic as a result of patronage and/or shipping and receiving of materials beyond five (5) trips a day. Shipping and receiving shall only be by a vehicle customarily used for residential purposes.

Family: An individual, or two (2) or more persons related by blood or marriage, or a group of persons not related by blood or marriage, living together as a single housekeeping group in a dwelling unit.

Handicapped: A person who: (a) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life's activities so that such person is incapable of living independently; (b) has a record of having such an impairment; or (c) is regarded as having such an impairment. However, "handicapped" does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance as defined in the Controlled Substance Act (21 United States Code 802).

Partial Hospitalization: A type of program used to treat mental illness and substance abuse. In partial hospitalization, the patient continues to reside at home, but commutes to a treatment center up to seven days a week. Partial hospitalization focuses on the overall treatment of the individual and is intended to avert or reduce in-patient care.  (Note: A person could live at home or in a group home and participate in a partial hospitalization program.  The treatment programs take place at a medical facility away from the home.)

Shelter Care: Short term residential care facilities providing lodging on a temporary basis, meals and counseling to individuals and groups such as, but not limited to, the homeless, pregnant teenagers, victims of domestic violence, neglected children, and runaways.  (Defined in the ordinance but not used anywhere in the ordinance.)

Sober Living Home.  A type of group home, licensed by the State, for individuals who have completed, or are in the process of completing a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program and seek to live in a supportive, safe, family-like setting in which some services and assistance may be provided to help continue the rehabilitation process. 

Treatment Center: Facilities providing lodging and meals and, primarily, treatment, training or education as a part of an alcoholism or drug addiction program.  (Defined in the zoning ordinance but not listed as a use in any zoning district.)
Related Ordinance, Policy or Guiding Principle
Risk Analysis
Recommendation(s) by Board(s) or Commission(s)
Staff Recommendation(s)
The definitions provided above are intended to help facilitate discussion by providing a common vocabulary for use of words and terms related to detoxification and sober living homes.  No recommendations are being made.
This is just a discussion item, no motions will be made or action taken.
PowerPoint - Definitions


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